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Singapore shares rise at Friday's open; STI up 0.3% to 3,280.03

SINGAPORE stocks opened stronger on Friday, with the Straits Times Index heading up 0.32 per cent, or 10.33 points to 3,280.03 as at 9am, even as Wall Street stocks fell overnight.

On the Singapore bourse, gainers outnumbered losers 81 to 33, or about five securities up for every two down, after 36.9 million securities worth S$92.1 million changed hands.

Among the most heavily traded by volume, ComfortDelGro stayed unchanged at S$2.56, with 3.3 million shares traded. Ascendas Reit also held firm to S$2.92 with 2.9 million shares traded.

Other active stocks included First Resources, which rose 1.2 per cent, or two Singapore cents to S$1.69.

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Banking counters also rose in the early morning trade with DBS gaining 0.5 per cent or S$0.13 to S$26.73; UOB up 0.7 per cent or S$0.17 to S$25.65; and OCBC rising 1.2 per cent or S$0.13 to S$11.44.

This comes after OCBC on Friday morning beat market estimates to post an 11 per cent rise in first quarter net profit to S$1.23 billion for the three months ended March 31. 

The last of the three local banks to report its Q1 results, OCBC said this was underpinned by growth across its banking, wealth management and insurance franchise.

In New York, US stocks fell for a fourth straight day, but managed to pull themselves off their session lows, after US President Donald Trump said a trade deal with Beijing was still possible.

The S&P 500, which had been down by as much as 1.5 per cent on Thursday, closed down 0.3 per cent at 2,870.72. Similarly, the Dow ended 0.5 per cent lower at 25,828.36, after having dropped 1.7 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.4 per cent to 7,910.58, compared to a 1.9 per cent decline earlier in the day, FT reported. 

The bounce back comes after Mr Trump said that he received a "beautiful letter" from Xi Jinping, urging the two countries to "work together" to resolve their differences on trade.

Elsewhere in Asia, shares climbed higher, just hours ahead of the Trump administration's plan to raise tariffs on Chinese imports, as investors looked to whether negotiators from the two countries can clinch a deal to avert the hike.

Japan’s Topix index rose 0.5 per cent as at 10.08am in Tokyo, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.1 per cent, while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, oil prices held firm after Mr Trump's comments on Mr Xi's letter raised hopes for a deal for now. Brent rose 1.1 per cent to US$71.16 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 1.1 per cent to US$62.39.